September 23, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

City Politics Update:

The election season continues to produce news.

A new candidate has entered the City Council race. Terence Later has filed as an official write-in candidate to join the 13 whose names will appear on the ballot seeking the four open Council seats. The write-in procedure allows late-filing candidates to have their votes counted, although voters must write their names in on the ballot.

Later filed his petition signatures on Tuesday, October 7. He ran for the Council in 2006 when he was the only candidate, other than Kevin McKeown, to oppose the unsuccessful Proposition W which would have modified Santa Monica’s law regarding the reporting of campaign contributions. Later, a Santa Monica native, supports Proposition T, supports “a Homeless Policy that couples services and housing with enforcement, one that does not enable the homeless to live on our streets unaccounted for,” and promises to “bring commitment, energy, and life-long experience rooted in Santa Monica” to the office.

State Senator Sheila Kuehl announced her opposition to Proposition T on the November ballot (the RIFT initiative), saying that she had “concluded that it would not actually reduce traffic, and is, therefore, not the answer to a real problem that requires a real solution.” She added that “Measure T could actually jeopardize the dwindling supply of affordable housing that so many of us have worked hard over the years to protect,” though she noted that she was “sure the proponents didn’t intend this particular consequence.”

The education group LEAD (Leadership Effectiveness Accountability Direction for Santa Monica-Malibu Public Schools) announced its endorsements for School Board candidates: Ben Allen, who is seeking election for the first time, and incumbents Jose Escarce and Maria Leon-Vazquez. “While the incumbents have made positive contributions,” said LEAD co-chair Debbie Mulvaney, “LEAD believes they have failed to provide leadership at key points in the past couple of years.” Despite those reservations, LEAD recommended a vote for Escarce and Leon-Vazquez “with the expectation that they will provide the District with the leadership it needs going forward.”

CEPS (the Community for Excellent Public Schools), which led the effort to obtain increased City funding for the School District, has endorsed all four incumbents in the City Council race – Mayor Herb Katz, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Bloom, and Councilmembers Ken Genser and Bobby Shriver. It also endorsed incumbent School Board members Escarce and Leon-Vazquez together with candidate Ben Allen. CEPS also voted to oppose Proposition T, support Proposition SM, and support Measure AA.

City Council candidate Jerry Rubin, who was arrested last month when he chained himself to a ficus tree that was to be removed on 4th Street, resolved his case by pleading “no contest” to a Municipal Code violation of “interference with administration”; the City dismissed the charge of resisting arrest. Rubin, who denies that he intended to impede the work of the City but only wanted to save the life of the tree, received no fine or jail time, but agreed not to interfere with any tree work in Santa Monica.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Council of PTAs voted unanimously to support Measure AA (SMC bonds) and Proposition SM (User Utility Tax on telecommunications) and to take no position on Proposition T (Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic). “Based upon the studies and recommendations of its Legislative Committee, PTA Council determined that sufficient PTA authorities exist to warrant taking positions on Measure AA and Proposition SM, but not on Measure T,” said council president Rebecca Kennerly.

The Santa Monica Republican Headquarters Committee has issued its voter guide for the November 4 election and recommends Terence Later (write-in) for City Council, Robert Kronovet for Rent Control Board and a “No” vote on Measure AA and Propositions SM and T.

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